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Martin Amis: The Biography
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The first biography of one of contemporary British literature's most gifted and controversial authors.

About the Author

Born in Derbyshire in 1957, Richard Bradford was educated at the University of Wales and at Oxford. He has held academic posts in Oxford, Wales and Trinity College, Dublin. He is currently and Research Professor in English at the University of Ulster. He has published twenty books, including Lucky Him: The Life of Kingsley Amis (2001), First Boredom, Then Fear: The Life of Philip Larkin (2005) and The Life of A Long Distance Writer: The Authorised Biography of Alan Sillitoe.

Reviews

I found Bradford's approach refreshing. Rare among literary academics he writes clearly, doesn't show off and knows a lot about his subject. He presents a fascinating chronicle of the development of Amis's brilliant ear for speech. He also brings out the full extent of the symbiosis between Amis and his best friend Philip Larkin: in a way Larkin invented Amis. --Craig Brown, author of The Lost Diaries
Nearly all critical biographies relate the work to the life insidiously, tendentiously, helplessly. Richard Bradford is different: he does it convincingly, and with vigor. The result is an original and stimulating book. --Martin Amis
This book, easily the best on Larkin yet to appear, is a masterful analysis of the weirdly fatalistic interweaving of his life and his writing. A great biography of a great artistic genius. Utterly magnificent. --Roger Lewis, author of Anthony Burgess: A Life
At his better moments Bradford rises to Amis's stylistic level. --Humphrey Carpenter, author of J. R. R. Tolkien and Evelyn Waugh
Nearlyall critical biographies relate the work to the life insidiously, tendentiously, helplessly. Richard Bradford is different: he does it convincingly, and with vigor. The result is an original and stimulating book. --Martin Amis
Thisbook, easily the best on Larkin yet to appear, is a masterful analysis of the weirdly fatalistic interweaving of his life and his writing. A great biography of a great artistic genius. Utterly magnificent. --Roger Lewis, author of Anthony Burgess: A Life

In this colorful, though ultimately unsatisfying biography, University of Ulster English professor Bradford (Lucky Him: The Life of Kingsley Amis), recounts the life of British novelist Martin Amis. Growing up in the rocky household of his hard-partying novelist father, Kingsley, Amis traveled in illustrious literary circles. Bradford follows the young man from childhood to Oxford and on to the vibrant intellectual scene in 1970s London. Dipping his toe in literary waters, Amis became involved with the New Statesman-hobnobbing with Christopher Hitchens, Julian Barnes, and Ian McEwan-and began his own writing career. From his outrageous second novel, Dead Babies, to his mature works, Money and London Fields, Amis developed a style that bitingly satirizes contemporary mores. His delight in giving offense, matched with that virtuoso style, made him an enfant terrible of the London literary establishment. Bradford rounds out the portrait of Amis's career with some attention to his personal life, including two marriages and the ongoing struggle with his father's literary shadow. Unfortunately, the result is less biography than hagiography, replete with musings on why Amis is the most important British novelist of his generation. Meanwhile, Bradford's overreliance on interviews with Amis and his friends-many passages of which are simply quoted verbatim-creates a gossipy air, and readers may doubt the completeness of the account. Photos. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Martin Amis burst upon the British literary scene in 1973 with his novel The Rachel Papers, written while he was still at Oxford. Son of writer Kingsley Amis (Lucky Jim), the younger Amis grew up in a world of booze, wild parties, and promiscuity. In this biography, Bradford (Univ. of Ulster, Ireland; Lucky Him: The Life of Kingsley Amis) spares no details as he reveals Martin Amis's dissolute life, referring often to his good looks and success with women. Despite his dysfunctional upbringing and rock-star lifestyle, Amis has continued to be an important postmodern voice of late 20th-century Britain. His close friend and literary compatriot Christopher Hitchens figures prominently in these pages, almost as a chorus, commenting on Amis's life and work. -VERDICT Bradford offers little new information about Amis, especially since the novelist has already written an autobiography. The book's strength, however, lies in Bradford's critical examination of the novels and their creative sources in Amis's life. Its appeal will be to Amis scholars and serious devotees of his fiction.-Nancy R. Ives, State Univ. of New York at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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